Wednesday, April 29, 2015

24 Weeks

I'm baaack! If you read my last pregnancy update you might be worried, but we got a fantastic prognosis from our MFM specialist. My cervical ultrasounds were fantastic and he decided that after 2 check ups, I was released from his practice with no high risk concerns! I am truly just giving the glory for that to God because He cares for me and knew how scared I was to possibly see my baby boy be premature or have my reproduction halted before we were done growing our family. We are beyond thankful, so now I will continue with my typical updates!

      The man behind the bump - my husband!                           Date night attire! (Monday)

It's hard to tell how big I am in these pictures because of the black dress! It's really comfortable, modest, and classic. 
Dress: Liz Lange Maternity XS from thredUP 
Necklace: Old Navy
Shoes: Old Navy
Flower Clip: homemade for my wedding
Lipstick - L'Oreal infallible red lip stain and balm (highly recommended!)

How many weeks?
 24 weeks 

Weight gain: I weigh 129 lbs, so I have gained about 12 lbs

Maternity Clothes? All day every day! I am rocking a huge bump.

Sleep: I have had a lot of insomnia and have been using lavender and cedarwood to help me relax at night.

Best Moment This Week: My birthday date night! We dropped off Roman at a friends' house, went to Red Lobster, and then shopped like a good ole married couple at Carter's Kids and Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

I also started my cloth diaper stash this week! Yes, we will be using cloth on our little guy. It's so much cheaper. I wish I could have done it with Roman, but with us both in college and him going to daycare it really wasn't a good option. I don't think I could have handled the extra laundry back then, but now it does not seem daunting AT ALL! I'm looking forward to seeing my little guy with a fluffy butt!

Top: GroVia newborn AIO's                                              Thirsties pocket diapers w/inserts
Bottom: Flip covers

I also ordered this diaper from Spray Pal + GroVia
20% of proceeds from the special Little Warrior diaper will go to March of Dimes

Worst Moment This Week: I accidentally skipped my OB appointment! Uh oh. We had just seen our specialist a few days before, so I am not worried. We just rescheduled!

Miss Anything? Being able to roll over in bed without pain in my groin. The act of rolling back and forth is the most painful thing I do all day.

Cravings: Cheeseburgers (still!), Cinnamon Toast Crunch, basically anything I can find flavored with cinnamon (coffee creamer, bagels, etc)

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks (I have about 4-6 per day), acid reflux is starting, deathly pain in my groin when I use my legs to push anything (you know you have all tried to just kick the laundry basket instead of picking it up!) or when I roll over, and I generally just feel huge. I am all baby and I feel like my belly is constantly stretching to accommodate.

Looking Forward To: Having this baby! Getting more fluff (cloth diapers), starting the decorating and nesting process in our nursery (right now it is all just sitting in boxes after our move), and getting some items from my Babylist registry. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Homemaking After A Move

Living in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 800(ish) square foot apartment might not be a chore for many - and to some it might seem like a luxury. We were definitely thankful to have a roof over our heads and a secure place to live, but the situation just wasn't working out for us as our family grew and our lifestyle changed.

So my husband and I decided to put down roots in our central Arkansas town and buy a house. We were looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with a fenced in back yard, and no major renovations needed. In a town like ours, this was not too hard to find, but we still looked for a few months trying to find "our home."

One day we toured a home in a nice neighborhood and thought it was a great little home, but the kitchen was way too small for my needs. So we continued to search within that neighborhood for an alternative because we knew that they all had the same builder and were within a few years old. Soon we found a for sale by owner and before we knew it, the deal was done - we had the keys, we cleaned it up, we moved in our stuff, and let go of our apartment. It is 1400 square feet with a large yard.

I wasn't sure how I would adjust to homemaking in a new house, especially a bigger house, but I knew I needed to overhaul my routine (or lack there-of). In our apartment, we had too much stuff and no where to put it, so clutter spilled out in every single room. Here, we have massive closets, 2 kids bedrooms, a large pantry, ample kitchen cabinetry, and more square footage for furniture that otherwise was cramped in the apartment.

A few tasks I have added to my daily regimen to keep our house running smoothly have made all the difference:

  • Running 1 load of laundry per day from start to finish
  • Keeping dirty dishes cleaned up
  • Making our bed
  • Cleaning the bathroom counter
After watching a video created by Erin from The Humbled Homemaker about common homemaking ruts we fall in, I realized I had been doing my laundry all wrong. I had been throwing a big load in the washer in the morning and when it was done, put it in the dryer thinking, It's only 10:00 AM, I have plenty of time to do another load! so I would throw in the next load as soon as my first went in the dryer. The next thing I knew, life happened and at 10:00 PM it would occur to me that both the washer and dryer were still full of clothes. 

So, I made a vow to do 1 load of laundry from start to finish before even touching another load. I have 100% stuck to this after over a month of living in this house and have not had a pile up of clean clothes wrinkling in their baskets or needed to rewash a wet load because it got stinky.

And just to let you know what I am working with - this is my laundry room! It is an improvement from my apartment because over there, I just had 2 machines shoved in a closet. I am not, however using a luxurious space with lots of room for sorting and storing, so I do have to stay on top of things to maintain order. We bought these Maytag HE machines brand new (paid cash!) so I am really proud of them as our first big purchases. What I really love having is the sturdy bar across the top. I can hang clothes as they come out of the dryer, or even hang bras up to air dry. (I'll spare you a picture of that!)

On top of the dryer I keep a cute little basket to collect stray socks. We have a lot of those!

I also keep a miniature ironing board and a step ladder tucked against the sides for easy use. 

Directly across from the machines is our pantry and parallel to the machines runs a walkway from the garage into the kitchen. I'm sure this will be great for sports or dirty activities as my kids grow. 

My next priority is keeping the master bathroom cleaned up every day. In our apartment we had 1 sink with a counter top that wrapped just around it, so there was not much room. We also barely had any storage for toiletries, so may of our products sat out on the counter. Here, I have made a point to keep things put away.

I allow hand soaps, toothpaste, tooth brushes, and 1-2 personal items on the sink. Right now I have my body spray and it is usually alone up there, but I did wash a foundation brush and had it drying on the edge of the sink as well.

Wiping down the counter with a disinfectant and making sure all products are in their respective drawers is a priority.

I clean the toilet, floor, mirror, and shower as needed without an official schedule.

                                          I got those pink/coral luminary jars from the $1 spot at Target and used them to frame a decoration I made from a vase, bulk pearl balls, and dried roses from a bouquet my husband gave me. It adds a feminine touch to the space without being overpowering.

Right now we don't have a solid theme for the bathroom, but my plan was to neutralize the feminine accents with navy and white touches.

To the left of the sinks is the entrance to our very large walk in closet. I will no doubt do a post on that one day!

The other bullet points above are pretty straight forward. I put all dirty dishes in the dish washer after meals and at night I run the dish washer and hand wash any large items. In the morning I take out the clean dishes and put them away.

I used to not be a bed maker because it seemed like you just crawled right back in, right? My husband felt the same way. After we got married I desired to make the bed, but with a baby, school, odd schedules, and the fact that our bedroom became an insane catch-all for furniture, books, off-limits-to kids items, etc, we didn't allow anyone to go in our bedroom for it to be seen anyway.

That is changing now. I got a new bed spread that really livens up the space and I am proud of the way my bed looks. It's definitely getting made. Now we just have to stop our 2 year old from smearing whatever was on his hands on the white bed spread before we can stop him. It's happened twice, so we are keeping the local dry cleaner in business.

I hope these simple tips help some of you who are trying to get into a homemaking routine. I'm currently following the lead of Erin, as I mentioned above, and many other homemaking bloggers such as

The Modest Mom
Young Wife's Guide

These ladies are moms and homemakers who share their routines and tutorials. I follow many others but these were the first who came to mind. I would encourage you to find some Mommy bloggers or Homemakers on their Facebook pages to gain insight into how other women make it work. Just a year ago I was drowning in my own clutter, totally unsure of how to manage it, and over time have tackled many projects and learned what does and doesn't work for our family.

For this season, homemaking is my job, and I aim to do it well. Best of luck, and I hope you enjoyed taking a look at a few corners of my home!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

22 Weeks

This will not be my typical weekly update:

I have really been feeling bad the past few weeks since our move. Extreme fatigue that surpasses typical pregnancy tiredness (and especially surpasses what I should be feeling in the 2nd trimester) as well as headaches and pubic bone/pelvic/hip pain that would send me to the floor.

We attended our 20 week ultrasound and were thrilled to know our baby boy was 100% perfect.

After a few weeks of monitoring my cervix at my OBGYN's office and seeing really unfavorable measurements in the ultrasound (it was shrinking or thinning), I was referred to a high risk doctor called a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist. He handles most of the cervical cases in our state of Arkansas.

We had our ultrasound and consult with him yesterday and let them know through my medical history that I had a few risk factors for an incompetent cervix, which might lead him to choose a surgery called a cerclage which would hold my cervix closed if it thinned too much to extend my pregnancy to full term on its own.

During our ultrasound, the nurse found that my measurements were almost completely normal! Like no thinning was detected at all, which can only be seen as miraculous healing. The specialist was confused and decided to put me on 9 days of bed rest followed by another set of ultrasounds and consults to determine what was happening to my measurements.

So I'm on strict orders not to lift anything - including my toddler son - and to spend most of my day laying around resting, doing only light activities in my house.

I have waves of energy where I am able to clean, but for the most part I am incredibly tired all day, which my doctor confirmed was my body telling me to slow down because it needed time to adjust to the everyday rapid changes of my baby's growth and my body's stretching.

I am thanking God that he gave mothers these instincts and that I am receptive to the cues of my body. I know this intuition is a gift. I will be taking things especially easy until after the 24 Week milestone where our baby will be considered viable, but will probably will not take any physical risks until I know he is more developed after 30 weeks.

This is not what we expected from our 2nd pregnancy, since our 1st was a textbook 40 week pregnancy with no complications, but many incredibly weird things have happened to my body since then. The dilation and curettage procedure that I underwent during my postpartum weeks is just one example of many. I'm also only 21 (will be 22 this month) so I'm a bit of a stand out case in the MFM waiting room, where most mothers carry multiples, have genetic conditions, or are much older than me.

Please join us in praying that my cervix will hold until the baby is full term (36+ weeks), that my tiny body will withstand the pressures of carrying my baby, and for my thought life as I doubt myself and my ability to provide health for this child. (Honestly its NOT me that is doing this. It's God, and I need to realize He is constantly in control, despite my weakness.) We in no way wanted to be done bearing children this young, so the thought of enduring subsequent difficult pregnancies is a bit overwhelming at times.

We love all of our readers and friends and are grateful to have you on this ride with us!

Friday, April 3, 2015

20 Weeks

We made it half way!!

These last 2 weeks have been insane for us with moving and I have not been feeling my best, so I chose to put the 19 week update off of my priority list.

How far along? 20 weeks

Weight gain: Tipping the scales at 121lbs, so I've gained 1 lbs since pre-pregnancy, but don't forget that I lost 7 lbs and have gained all of that back. My doctor said she likes to see women gain 5 lbs by 20 weeks, so hopefully she's not unhappy with me.

Maternity clothes? Um, duh! Maternity jeans all the way. 

Sleep: I have felt bad the last 2 weeks and I really have been listening to my body and resting or sleeping as much as I can.

Best Moment This Week: Seeing our boy on the ultrasound again after 6 long weeks of waiting. He weighed 11 oz (just 5 oz shy of a pound) and looked pretty perfect in there.
his bitty face

Worst Moment This Week: Just feeling really weak, tired, and unable to do much. I can say with certainty that this pregnancy is harsher on me than my first pregnancy was. This morning I was feeling too bad to go to Roman's gymnastic practice so I let him go with just Daddy, but moments after they left I was reduced to tears and mommy-guilt because we all look forward to gymnastics and I ended up jumping in the car and driving up to surprise him. I was really glad I did.

This is how I spend a lot of my days - voluntary bed rest!

Miss Anything? Energy, strength

Cravings: Cheeseburgers still! Cinnamon flavored anything! Salsa!

Symptoms: Pain in my belly from little man pushing and kicking against me or resting really really low. Pelvic and hip pain. Pressure on my cervix. Back pain. Fatigue. Upset stomach.

Looking Forward To: Delivery! 

If you follow us on Facebook, then you also know that this week we decided to debut his little name. I had debated on waiting longer because a baby's name seems to be something that so many people think they are entitled to an opinion on, but decided to go ahead and share with prayers that all would be positive.

His name is Nolan Dean! :) 

Please keep us in your prayers for overall health.

A Toddler's Easter Basket - No Candy, Lots of Fun!

Today is Good Friday, a day in which Christians observe and reflect on the death of Jesus with special reverence. I'm spending a lot of today thinking and praying, but I decided to share with you some ideas for a toddler's Easter basket!

We don't like to give our son much candy because he is already a live wire and his peanut allergy limits us on what treats he is allowed to eat, so I do my Easter baskets a little differently than some!

Did you know how many chocolate candies are (or can be) contaminated with nuts due to candy companies using the same processing machines for different candy bars? Plain Hershey's would be fine for him, but if a Snickers contaminates the batch, it doesn't matter to the company at large. Read your labels! And please respect allergy families by ALWAYS asking a parent before feeding a child, even one you are familiar with. Our friends do such a good job of asking us first and I'm very grateful.

Here is a sneak peek of what I decided to put in our 2 year old, Roman's, Easter basket. He is obsessed with pirates, so when I saw all of these pirate party supplies and favors at Target, I knew we had hit the jackpot. 

This tin bucket was found with the Easter baskets, rather than the party supplies where much of our 'stuffing' came from. I was going to use our existing basket from years past, but decided that since we are giving him a pirate themed bedroom in our new house, that this durable tin would be long-lasting and versatile. 

These awesome pirate accessories are definitely going to rock our little guy's world. He already has 1 foam sword, but now him, Mommy, and Daddy can all play (or baby brother when he's big). I'm really looking forward to seeing his face when he puts all of this on!

2 bubble wands will kick off the Spring with some fun outdoor play.

You may have been thinking, Aw, Mom, really no candy!? Really. No candy. But these bunny shaped treats from Annie's are both adorable, delicious, and a little healthier than the alternative snacks. Our boy LOVES raisins as well, so these teeny packs will make him smile. 

Here is the final product! I am really pleased with how it turned out and hope this gave you a few ideas on non-candy treats to include in your toddler or child's Easter basket. Just pick some inexpensive items you can see your child truly enjoying, maybe sticking with a theme like I did, or even staying within the traditional Western Easter themes of bunnies, eggs, and pastels. 

While we don't do the Easter Bunny (for similar reason to why we don't do Santa) I really enjoy giving gifts to my family and want my son to enjoy special treats throughout the year. We will spend our Easter Sunday at church worshiping with passion and remembering the ultimate sacrifice. We plan to eat a special meal together (just our little family this year). In the future when Roman is old enough to take in the truth of Jesus and this holiday, we will probably incorporate more meaningful traditions as well. 

May we remember the reason for the season while also being able to enjoy cultural traditions in a wholesome way!